Mail Identity Theft: 1/17/11-1/24/11

Monday-Tuesday Log: Mail Theft, Resisting Arrest
Hercules Patch – 1/19/11

(HERCULES, CALIFORNIA) “[…] Mail Theft: A resident on the 1200 block of Promenade reported online new checks she had ordered were stolen from her mailbox and one the checks was cashed in Napa. […]”

COMMENTS: Here is what to do if your mail is stolen. With the prevalence of mail theft across the nation, residents need to be careful with the sensitive documents they receive in their mailbox. Thieves can steal these for identity theft. Promptly picking up your mail is no longer adequate, as some thieves are so brazen they will follow the postal carrier!

To protect yourself, use a security locking mailbox like the Mail Boss – the incoming mail slot is 1.9″ H – just large enough to accept a box of checks, but not so large as to accommodate fishing hands!

Grand jury hands down mail theft indictments
News Virginian – 1/19/11

(STAUNTON, VIRGINIA) Three Staunton women arrested in September on larceny and forgery charges have now been indicted by a grand jury on mail theft charges. Starting in June, the trio targeted Staunton homes stealing checks from area mailboxes and attempting to cash them at local businesses.

COMMENTS: This trio has been wreaking havoc in Staunton for a good six months now, so it is nice to see them finally indicted on federal charges. Unfortunately, because the prisons are already so crowded with inmates, there is a strong chance they will receive no more than a slap on the wrist in the form of a few months behind bars and probation. Then, they’ll be back to stealing identities of hard-working citizens.

The sad reality is that mail theft is on the rise across the nation, and law enforcement cannot put or keep all mail-identity thieves behind bars. As such, homeowners need to be vigilant in protecting their sensitive mail, namely with the use of a high security locking mailbox. In addition, checks or bill payments should not be sent through the mail – online bill pay is more secure. And as most everyone knows, it’s essential to shred sensitive documents (most of which come in the curbside mailbox) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.

Mail theft: Easy targets
Watauga Democrat – 1/18/11

(BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA) In mid-December, Boone resident Libby Hollis started to suspect something was awry when she hadn’t received any bank statements or bills in quite awhile. When she inquired with the postal carrier, her suspicions were confirmed: someone had been stealing her mail.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Hollis is just one of many victims of mail theft or mail tampering in Watauga County. While officers did arrest two individuals on mail-related charges in late December, incidents continue to occur, serving as a reminder for residents that their mailboxes are prime targets for opportunistic thieves looking for money or sensitive information for identity theft.

Now Hollis is on high alert, in regular contact with their banks and on the lookout for fraud. Other victims, like Patricia Weaver, must remain vigilant too. She noticed that soon after placing outgoing bills in her mailbox, the flag was down; yet, she did not receive any mail until later that day. Creditors never received her payments, and while the checks were never cashed fraudulently, she is still uncomfortable that crooks now have her bank account information.

Ginny Thomas of Zionville said she had no doubt when items were stolen from her mailbox, because the thief ripped into a package stealing the contents and leaving the packaging behind. And yet another victim, Marchell Miller of Boone, actually witnessed a thief rifling through the mailboxes of her neighbors. She called police and gave them a description of the suspect.

Authorities say vigilance is key in stopping mail thieves, and ask residents to report any suspicious activity around mailboxes immediately to police. Especially with the upcoming tax season, it is crucial that people be on the look out for mail theft. Authorities say that to prevent mail theft, you can replace your standard roadside mailbox with a locked mailbox.

COMMENTS: That’s right! Converting to a locked mailbox, particularly a quality locking mailbox, will prevent mail theft. This is the number one best action you can take to keep thieves from stealing your incoming mail.

Rare record taken from mailbox, and more
Trib Local – 1/18/11

(BARRINGTON HILLS, ILLINOIS) “Mail that contained a rare 12-inch LP record of Envy of the Coast, a former alternative rock band of Long Island, was stolen out of a mailbox at a house in the 100 block of Brinker Road. The owner tracked the record valued at $45 and knows it was delivered. […]”

COMMENTS: For securely receiving small parcels and packages, consider the Mail Boss Package Master, which features patented “Mail Shield” technology to prevent fishing.

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